The Dice has long been a popular kite in the North Kiteboarding line up. They have four main products these days; each kite tries to fulfil a dual purpose, the Neo is a great wave kite that can also handle freeriding, the Rebel is a high end freeride kite that also works well for beginners and the Vegas is a freestyle weapon that can also do a bit of freeriding. Depending on your style depends on where you fit into all this.
The Dice is the freestyle kite that doubles up as a machine that can handle itself in the waves. Tom Court is the rider they push with the Dice, and his style falls into this category. He’s an incredible surfer and wave rider, but moreover, he is just as at home in the kite park or throwing down the latest tricks, when his knees are working at least!
2018 saw some major updates to the Dice, the previous year it was only tweaked so this new version is a step away from the Dice of 2017. The design concept is still the same, but the designers wanted to improve the handling even further to offer riders even more control.
This was achieved by adding an extra panel to the canopy between the centre and outer strut. The leading edge profiles were also completely reworked to increase the structural stiffness in the wingtip area. The Dice is a still a three strut four line bridled design, although it can be flown on five lines too if you prefer a fifth line for relaunch and self-landing.
Sizes: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13m
The Dice is a four or five line option this year, although each year North are moving more and more towards four lines. The fifth line is inactive, so flying it in either mode doesn’t affect the way the kite handles. If you go for the Wakestyle Bar, which is shorter and better for freestyle, then you’ll be flying the Dice in the five-line mode as currently the Wakestyle Bar only comes in this guise.
You can also fly it on the much talked about Click Bar in four-line mode. Depending on what you want to do depends on the set up you choose. If freestyle is your primary goal, then the Wakestyle Bar makes sense. Being shorter it will offer less input during moves and keep the kite more stable.
If you would rather ride in the waves, then the Click Bar will be more suitable as it will offer improved turning with it’s longer length, and the depower throw will also be better for the waves and strapless freestyle too. For the ultimate in versatility go for the Trust Bar, it’s easy to overlook this option, but in our opinion, it offers the best solution for the Dice.
Firstly you can adjust the length of the bar, shorter for freestyle and longer for waves and freeride. This will give you more control in whatever discipline you are riding that day. The new chicken loop options mean you can have the freestyle loop, and the freeride or rope set up for those wave sessions too. It’s easy to change the loops over before a session and this way you have the perfect bar for your chosen style of riding.
Whichever bar you choose you can rest assured they will all be exceedingly well built and feature the Iron Heart safety system, single front line re-ride, or fifth line safety, suicide safety set up for unhooked freestyle and high-quality lines from Teufelberger. Every North bar oozes quality, and they have been tried and tested over the years to offer incredible durability too!
With some major changes happening on the Dice this year we were keen to see how the new kite would handle. Over the years there have been legions of fans of the Dice, ourselves included, our IT Director Alex won’t ride anything else. Were we going to love its familiar feel or discover a different kite had lost some of its DNA?
First up, you can rest assured the Dice is still the Dice, the kite feels familiar in the hands and those of you switching from last years model won’t be left wondering what the hell is above your head. However, some definite improvements should be enough to make you switch.
Firstly the handling, the new tips offer a much more responsive feel to the kite, input from the bar results in a near instant reaction from the kite. This makes jumping even more fun than before. A quick redirect and you’ll find an aggressive pull off the water with a solid bit of hangtime too. A quick redirect will lead to smooth landings, and while the feel has changed slightly, it is easy to get dialled in.
Unhooked performance is excellent, the kite is well behaved when you unhook and the pop and release action from the rider results in great pull with excellent slack once you are airborne. With the Trust Bar detuned (shorter) or with the Wakestyle Bar you will find this a formidable kite for the latest freestyle moves.
“Dynamic handling, big air and fun kiteloops.”
Kite loops can be easily controlled with skilled input at the bar, pull it hard and fast for a more pivotal turn, or engage the bar a little slower and the Dice will take a wider arc around giving you a solid yank too.
In the waves that dynamic handling that we love about the Dice lends itself well to onshore conditions where you need to steer the kite down the line. In offshore winds, the kite will drift, but it’s not quite up to Neo levels of float. It’s a freestyle kite that can ride waves; it excels in the onshore wave conditions that most of us get too.
Dynamic handling, big air and fun kiteloops. The Dice will thrill and entertain whoever rides it. In the waves, it proves to be formidable, especially in onshore conditions.
In the larger sizes and lighter winds, you’ll need to put some effort into the relaunch. Either ride the bigger sizes with the fifth line to make this better, or get your kite relaunching skills dialled. If you have good technique, it isn’t an issue, but don’t expect to pull on a rear line and for the kite to pop up out of the water!
If freestyle and big air define your style, but you do have a surfboard in your quiver, then the Dice is a kite for you. The design changes this year have only led to character improvements for this kite, and we are still big fans of the Dice. The dynamic handling makes it fun to fly, and it’s fast and responsive around the window. This makes big air easy and fun and also means it can hold it’s own in the waves too. Unhooked is where this kite shines through, controlled and with good slack, it is a kite to have fun with.
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This review was in Issue 69 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit North Kiteboarding
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Rou has been kiting since the sports inception and has been working as an editor and tester for magazines since 2004. He started IKSURFMAG with his brother in 2006 and has tested hundreds of different kites and travelled all over the world to kitesurf. He's a walking encyclopedia of all things kite and is just as passionate about the sport today as he was when he first started!
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